San Antonio’s Most Romantic Restaurants

The season of love approaches, and whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with all you’ve got or think it’s a sorry excuse for an over-commercialized February holiday, you’ll find that the Alamo City always delivers on romance.

Valentine’s Day may be just a single day, but making space in your busy calendar for wining and dining one another is forever. Thankfully, San Antonio’s foodie love language is rich and varied: whether your idea of a romantic date is tacos and margaritas, an intimate steakhouse dinner, or cocktails and a late night bite, you’ll find the perfect backdrop for your next evening out.

With so much love in the air, I’ve put together a list of the most romantic restaurants (and a couple of bars) in San Antonio. Whether you find a new spot to take your Valentine, or shelve it for a later date, this list will have you ready to book a sitter and make reservations!

American

Signature may be the fine dining restaurant at the La Cantera Resort, but you certainly don’t have to be staying there to enjoy it. The seasonally inspired menu is a “what’s what” of fine produce inspired by the Hill Country and beyond. From fried oysters with caviar to foie gras and rabbit-stuffed vol-au-vents, the appetizers give a hint of the hearty, rich but refined food served at Signature. The restaurant itself is cozy and elegant, with wooden ceiling beams, dark leather furniture, soft lighting, and the sounds of the bustling kitchen at work. Enjoy drinks at the bar ahead of (and/or after) your meal, before exiting through the heady scents of the restaurant’s own herb garden.

Walking into the Maverick Texas Brasserie—located in the shadow of the Tower of the Americas—definitely sets the date night mood, with its dark stained wood, low lighting, plush velvet, and well-stocked bar. Come for the ambience but stay for the food: a mix of French brasserie classics like Croque Madame, roasted Cornish hen and steak frites, and Texas-accented double cut pork chops, impeccably grilled tenderloin, and classic trout almondine. This is seriously delicious food, prepared with great care and presented beautifully—the kind of place where you don’t have to worry whether you and your beau will enjoy your meal equally. Because you will, and you’ll be planning your next meal before you even leave!

 

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San Antonio boasts plenty of prime steakhouses, but there is only one Bohanan’s. Located downtown near the Majestic Theatre, the bustling bar downstairs is the perfect spot to enjoy a classic cocktail before dinner. Head upstairs to the restaurant and you’ll find the interior of your steakhouse dreams—dark wood, elegant white tablecloths, and soft lighting. The menu is an ode to classic dining, with grilled oysters, jumbo lump crab cakes, French onion soup, and Texas heirloom tomato salad with truffle oil and Spanish Manchego. For the ultimate date night experience, go for the chateaubriand for two: beef tenderloin grilled to perfection and served alongside duchesse potatoes, asparagus with hollandaise, and sauce béarnaise. This is the perfect spot to celebrate the most romantic of occasions.

 

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Clementine is a family-owned restaurant in the Castle Hills area, but don’t let its “down home” vibes fool you—in the kitchen, Chef Russ is a James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist for 2022. His wife Elise is the restaurant’s pastry chef, and together with their team, they create seasonally inspired, delicious, refined yet comforting food. If you love trying something new—or just want to add a little excitement to your date night—opt for the “feed me” menu option. Chef Russ will create a menu just for you, highlighting the tastes of the season, and serve the dishes to share. Among the highlights of their à la carte menu are hush puppies with labneh and wildflower honey, country fried quail, swordfish with citrus, and chamomile brined spatchcock chicken. This is light, bright, inventive cooking, presented perfectly and served in a modern but comfortable space. Needless to say, you must save room for Elise’s desserts.

 

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Mexican

There’s nothing more Puro San Antonio than a date night at a Mexican restaurant, and you are spoiled for choice! When it comes to making it special, choosing your (Or should I say, their?) favorite place is always a guaranteed win. But if you’re looking to spread your wings and pair great food with a really romantic ambience, keep reading this section.

Mixtli has been on my restaurant to-do list for a long time, with its clean, minimalist vibes and continually evolving menu. This is modern, progressive Mexican cooking for those who love food and aren’t afraid to try something new. Make a reservation for a seat at their table (typically available a month in advance) and enjoy a seven-course tasting menu inspired by the rich history, produce, and culture of a specific region, area, or tradition in Mexico (currently, until March 2023, it is El Norte). Pair it with otherwise unseen and unheard-of pours, from wine to tequila, mezcal, and more. Can’t get a reservation right now? The Mixtli bar is separate from the dining room and does not require reservations, so you can treat your beau to one of the most unique cocktail experiences in SA—and a promise to go back for dinner!

 

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Paloma Blanca celebrated 25 years last year (2022) and remains a much-loved local spot for margaritas, pollo con mole, and flautas. Whether you sit inside among the stained wood and chocolate leather couches or out on the patio, this is an elegant and comfortable spot for a casual date.

Los Azulejos opened in 2019, and after fighting to survive the pandemic, has finally hit its stride. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with beautiful tilework and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Los Azulejos has a varied menu of traditional and more upscale dishes perfect for sharing: try Baja tacos with tempura mahi mahi, a standout chicken mole, and delicious tres leches for dessert; as well as a wide selection of top-shelf and flavored margaritas from the bar.

Continental

Nowhere does romance like Paris, the City of Love, and you’ll find a little piece of Paris at The Pearl—specifically, at Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. With its chandeliers, soft lighting, marble-topped tables, and dark wood accenting, this French bistro is an absolutely beautiful backdrop for a date night. Pair its ambience with casual but refined food and an excellent wine list, and you’ve got a recipe for romance. Start by sharing their platter of pâté and charcuterie with house-made baguette, before devouring classic mussels with fries, and a dessert of profiteroles. Simple, classic, elegant cooking—made for lovers (of food and one another).

If you’re in the mood for Italian food, there are a couple of wonderful options in the downtown area: first up, Nonna, on the first floor of the Fairmount Hotel, is always a great spot for a lunch or dinner date. Notch up the romance a little higher and share their signature pasta tossed tableside in a wheel of Parmesan cheese. It’s rich and decadent; perfect for two to share. A little further down the street is Battalion, an upscale Italian eatery in a restored fire station. By night it’s a little dark and a little loud (Is my age showing?!), but its dramatic lighting and delicious food (and cocktails) make it the perfect spot for making eyes at one another over dinner and drinks. Its menu is crying out to be shared, so you can share a traditional Italian meal of antipasti, primi, salad, pasta, and a hearty plate of meat or fish with veggies. Oh, and dessert. Is it even a romantic evening if there is no dessert?

 

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Speaking of sharing, my personal date-night soft spot is tapas. My husband and I have shared many tapas meals in Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. since we first began dating, and small plates (with a good amount of Rioja or Sangria) are my love language. The very best tapas in San Antonio can be found at Toro, whether at the Stone Oak location or downtown in St. Paul’s Square. The vibe is authentic, bustling, and romantic: plates come out when they are ready, with platters of Jamón Serrano and cheese chased down by hearty dishes of patatas bravas, grilled cheese with Licor 43 honey, crispy croquetas, and stuffed dates. The bar is well-stocked and the servers are knowledgeable about Spanish wines and perfect pairings. This is the opposite of Battalion—you aren’t going here to impress your date (though, make no mistake, they will be impressed), you’re going to eat and drink with the one you love most and remember why you’re a match made in heaven.

Seafood

Given the relative proximity of San Antonio to the coast, it’s unsurprising that fresh seafood is so well represented here. While many restaurants offer fantastic seafood options, it’s worth pushing the boat out (sorry for the pun) and trying one of these seafood-specific eateries if you want to celebrate something special.

A natural aphrodisiac, the connection between oysters and romance is long established. If that sounds like your idea of heaven, look no further than Little Em’s. Their light and bright aesthetic might not be the first thing that springs to mind for date night, but the food is to die for. Beautifully dressed oysters are joined by elegantly prepared and presented cold classics like shrimp cocktail, ceviche, and tartare; followed up by hot and cold lobster rolls, prime beef, and crab cakes. Looking to really push the boat out? Little Em’s is one of the only places to offer a variety of caviars, served with the traditional accompaniments. If you’ve never tried it but have always wanted to, make a night of this culinary adventure! Pair impeccably presented Russian Ossetra, Siberian Sturgeon, or Royal White Sturgeon caviar with champagne for a meal to remember. Open 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with brunch service on Sunday, this is the perfect spot for a day date or even a Galentine gift exchange.


At the other end of the light spectrum, the dark ambience of Eddie V’s Prime Seafood makes for the perfect date night spot. You’ll find a variety of oysters, loaded seafood towers, lobsters with drawn butter, sashimi, and tableside tartare. With a full bar and an extensive wine list, this is a great spot for making a night of it—be sure to ask for a booth when making a reservation.

 

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One of my personal favorite spots for dinner, the Silo Terrace Oyster Bar (located across I-10 from the Dominion) is a pescatarian‘s paradise. Start with the fried oysters, calamari, or shrimp spring rolls before enjoying an entree of some of the best and freshest fish from the Gulf. I highly recommend trying the daily fish feature or seeing how their lobsters—sourced from Tristan Island—are being served that night.

Last in the seafood section, Rebelle is the revamped fine-dining restaurant at The St. Anthony Hotel. This is a dark, sexy, and inviting space, with a sweeping staircase, plush chairs, and backlit bar. Enjoy drinks before diving into one of their impressive, chilled seafood towers, followed by charbroiled king crab legs with garlic confit butter or Rockefeller-inspired shrimp bucatini with cream sauce, bacon, and caviar. If you’re looking for somewhere celebratory, and love seafood, then Rebelle fits the bill.

 

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Light Bites

Last, but by no means least, these romantic hotspots are the perfect place to grab cocktails and graze on tasty light bites—perfect when you don’t have time for a full meal.

The interior of Liberty Bar couldn’t be a further departure from its exterior—leave behind the almost-Cuban vibes of the frothy pink paint and enter a dark, intimate bar lit by neon and candles. The drinks are bright and inventive, backed by a solid and varied list of bourbons, whiskies, gins, tequilas, and liqueurs. It’s a rare kind of place where I wouldn’t have to worry that my husband won’t enjoy the Old Fashioned, martini, or Negroni he orders at the start of the night, but this is it. Graze on calamari, fried chickpeas, meatballs, and queso that is definitely not your average variety.

 

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I had to find a way to sneak Best Quality Daughter onto this list because it is just the
perfect backdrop for a romantic night with your main squeeze. Sure, you could eat from the dinner menu, but I think you’ll have more fun sampling their hilariously named cocktails and devouring the small plates in the comfort of a pink and turquoise booth. Pair bougie egg rolls and mochi cheddar hush puppies with an Over My Dad Body or Nightshades cocktail. This is fun, spontaneous dining, and that’s what romance should be all about.

I’d say San Antonio definitely knows how to woo its ladies—so whatever you’re in the mood for, I hope you’ve found a romantic new spot to try! Whether it’s on Valentine’s Day or any date night, it’s entirely up to you.

xoxo

Natalie
Natalie is a proud Brit, but moved to Texas at the end of 2017 to be with her husband, a native San Antonian. Their son was born in late October 2020, so her entire experience of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum has been under the cloud of Covid-19. She spent the frivolous years of her early 20s pursuing a PhD in Renaissance history, living in Venice, Italy, and teaching students. She pivoted into editing when she moved to the US, but currently has her academic pursuits on hold while she focuses on her son. Despite being in San Antonio for a few years now, she still considers herself a newbie. She loves to find out more about the history and culture of the city, explore new places, and find local businesses to support. A fastidious researcher and lover of lists, she’s always excited to share her finds and experiences with others. Favorite Restaurant: Dough Favorite Landmark: World’s Largest Cowboy Boots Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Riverwalk Christmas Lights